It was controversial when first proposed, and drivers insisted that people were going to get hurt if the Florida Legislature moved forward with its plan, but so far, opening bike lanes on the Pineda Causeway has not been the disaster everyone feared.
No Bike Accidents On The Pineda Causeway
A study performed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has revealed that during its first 19 months of operation, the Pineda Causeway bike lanes have seen no bike crashes. From March 2013 through February 2015 there have been 95 crashes involving of every other type of vehicle on the causeway, but bicycles have remained safe while riding over the bridge.
The Pineda Causeway was part of a two-year pilot program that included two other Miami-Dade County causeways and tested whether allowing bikes on these bridges was safe. The program received skepticism from members of the cycling community that didn’t trust motorists, and from drivers who believed the bikes would slow traffic. The study in turn showed that motorists were paying attention to the new biking regulations, and traffic only slowed by 2.2 mph when cars were passing bicyclists.
Is Florida Becoming Safer For Bicyclists?
The other two bridges that were a part of this program experienced three bike crashes apiece during this two-year period, but those bridges handle more traffic than the Pineda. Shortly after the study ended, one bicyclist was thrown from the Julia Tuttle Causeway when he was hit by a driver swerving to dodge a vehicle that cut her off. This incident seems to be the only cyclist fatality experienced on the pilot bridges, but it is a sobering reminder of how much further we have to go in order to make Florida bicycle friendly.